Backup Generator Information from Owner

Over the years now I have seen 1,000’s of automatic standby generator installations and here are a few things I try to inform every customer of when I perform  an on-site survey.  The thoughts below are my own thoughts and were written to give you some solid information based on my years of experience.

Placement of the generator

Place the generator at least 5 feet from any opening such as a door, window, and exhaust or intake air vent.

Place the generator at least 10 feet away from the propane tanks.

Place the generator (this depends on the manufacture) 2 feet to 5 feet away from any combustible material, such as your house, a deck or porch, and vegetation.

Transfer Switch

This is a switch about the size of your electrical panel that will mount next to your existing electrical panel in most cases.  Sometimes they mount outside near your meter socket, and other times they are mounted in remote locations but 7 out of 10 times they are located near the electrical panel

Most of the generators I install have whole house transfer switches.  Unless you choose a 7, 8, or 10 KW generator I see very little reason not to go with a whole house transfer.

generac backup generator installed outside of a southern maine yard






80% of all automatic standby generators in the state of Maine run on Propane Gas.  The remaining 20% are run of natural gas.  There are diesel generators but I have not seen many.

As a side note 90% on the automatic generators out there can be converted from propane to natural gas easily.  No need to purchase a new generator if natural gas becomes available.

Generators typically draw around 1.5 gallons per hour.

Propane tanks vary on size but the most common size is a 110 gallon tank.

During the winter typically a 110 gallon propane tank only has 85 gallons of “usable” fuel in it.

For the gas piping installation I have the company who is supplying the gas do the install of the gas piping.  This way there is no confusion if there is every a question about fuel to the unit.  One sole source of responsibility.


This really requires a site visit.  There are calculators on the web to help you size a generator but with today’s load management systems you can do a lot with a little.

It costs you just a little time to meet with me and when I am done you will have the exact size I recommend and my reasoning’s as to why I chose the size I did.

Permits, Scheduling, Coordination

This is my responsibility.

Questions that I get asked

#1 How loud is the unit?  You are always welcome to hear a unit run here at our office, or as one customer put it “it sounds like a lawn mower.”  As a reference point she was standing three feet away from the unit.

#2 Which brand is best?  All the brands have their different strengths and weaknesses.  We represent Generac, Briggs and Stratton, GE, and Kohler.  I will share with you all of the brands and you can choose which is best for you.  We represent all of the brands because it is not about what I want it is about what is best for you and only you know what is best for you.

Hope this helps.

Any questions please feel free to use the contact us page and send us a e-mail or just give us a call.


Yours for being prepared,

Shawn LaPlante